The place was Guadalajara, Mexico. My son Weston was on an educational visit meandering through the market square. Food is the main item peddled by the merchants, but it’s a good spot to see just about anything for sell – even a Chihuahua.
There they were. Four tiny puppies dressed in miniature sombreros. One of them – Felipe – was soon to meet a guardian angel – my son.
The permission for the purchase was secured with a quick call back to Kansas. The two of them boarded an airplane for the trip back to America, once Felipe got his clearance from a local vet. Felipe made the ride back in an orange foam basket, sitting quietly on Weston’s lap.
Weston was still a college student so Felipe ended up living with mom and dad. And, the love he’s brought is only matched by the love he’s received.
So, do you believe in angels?
The Christmas season brings with it many wonderful movies. One that played last evening is called “The Bishop’s Wife.” It’s a story about an Episcopalian Bishop who prays to god for an angel to help him build a cathedral. And, that’s what he gets – an angel.
The guardian angel appears as a man named Dudley. Dudley helps the Bishop – not exactly in the way he wished, but in a grander fashion. When his work is done and he leaves earth, Dudley erases the memories of him with all he interacted.
The premise of the story is that God works his miracles through mysterious ways – ways you might not be aware. The story concludes with a sermon read by the Bishop – one written by Dudley.
Here’s that sermon.
Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.
Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts.
We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts – especially with gifts.
You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child.
All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up – the stocking for the child born in a manger.
It’s his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that.
Let us ask ourselves what “He” would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share – loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance – all the shining gifts that make peace on earth.